WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #5 by Matt Fraction, Steve Lieber, Nathan Fairbairn and Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
Over the course of Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen, Lex Luthor has been seemingly targeting Jimmy Olsen's life. But while Jimmy fakes his death and assumes a false identity in Gotham City, Luthor has been looking further into a previously unknown family connection between the two - that has led him to a potential secret that would be devastating for Lex.
It turns out that Lex Luthor may actually be biologically related to Jimmy Olsen - making them distant cousins.
THE LUTHOR/OLSEN CONNECTION
While researching the history of his family and Jimmy Olsen, Lex Luthor ends up discovering the long-rivalry that has existed between the two families. In the early days of what would one day become Metropolis, the Olsens and Luthors were dire enemies and financial rivals. Barnaby Willingmont Fontanbleau Olsen and Aloysius Luthais Luthor both attended the cotillion for Aloysius' daughter, Hannah Alexandria Luthor, in 1888. She was the first member of the family born in Metropolis and was treated with the kind of wealthy upbringing that would require a cotillion. At this ball, she first met Jimberly Jimmington Olsen, who was a perfect gentleman to her despite their family's longstanding hatred. While the ball around them stared in shock, the two spent the entire night waltzing together.
By the end of the event, the two were madly in love with one another. However, their fathers -- bitter rivals because of their family lines -- forbade them from being together. The two kept in touch thanks to pidgeon-carried correspondence, and Jimberly eventually tried to sneak into the Luthor estate to see her. Unfortunately, her father saw him and put a bullet in his leg for his trouble. There wasn't a happy ending for the pair, as they ended up separated and marrying others, having families of their own that would eventually lead to the present-day members of the Luthor and Olsen clans.
WHAT THIS MEANS
While conducting his research though, Lex learns that Hannah went on to have three daughters, all of whom shared her sleek black hair. But while she officially only had three children, an old picture Luthor finds of the family includes a fourth child - older than the rest, a gangly boy with red hair and freckles. Luthor immediately spots the boy, and the clues seem to come together in his head. Is there a chance his great-aunt had actually consummated her love with Jimberly, and bore him a secret son? If so, then this boy could have turned out to be the Luthor that was directly related to Lex himself, making Lex and Jimmy Olsen distant cousins.
While it may seem far-fetched at first, it does explain why Jimmy and Lex have certain physical traits in common. Luthor has long been shown having bright green eyes, a trait shared by Jimberly in the past. It would also explain why Luthor, unlike his black-haired ancestors, would eventually end up with red hair (before losing it all). Younger versions of Lex are often shown with freckles, which could further connect him to the freckled young boy in the old family picture.
It would also be hilarious if this was truly the origins of the Luthor line that led to Lex. This means that while he may be Superman's worst enemy, he's also related to one of Superman's best friends. It also means that Luthor's apparent attempts to have Jimmy killed could take on additional levels of drama, as their shared bloodline means they should be willing to work together. But Lex has been shown to despise Jimmy and his antics, making the potential connection even funnier.
For Luthor, this might be one of the worst revelations of his adult life. Considering how well he's been doing for himself during the "Year of the Villain," it's the perfect petty blow that would drive even Apex Lex mad.